Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The chicken soup cure

Chicken soup reportedly is good for what ails us, and considering the circumstances of the last week a massive infusion is called for. I have issues with canned soup, however --- too little flavor; too much salt. This recipe makes me happy. I call it Mexican Chicken Soup, but doubt a Mexican cook would recognize it. It has a lot of flavor, but only a modest bite. It also has very little salt, which is a good thing.

This also fits into my feeding strategy, adopted (a) because I live alone, (b) because I don't like frozen entrees and (c) because I'm not that fond of slabs of meat. So once a week or so I make a big casserole and a big pot of soup, divide same into containers big enough to hold a serving or two, freeze much of it and then eat essentially the same thing all week: Soup or casserole for lunch or supper along with salad, bread and fresh fruit. Those who like hotter may add pepper sauce or otherwise fiddle with the ingredients. Here's the recipe:


2 whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 cups water
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 or more celery stalks chopped
4 or more cloves garlic minced or pressed
2 14-and-a-half ounce cans chopped tomatoes (flavored if you like)
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup salsa of whatever strength you prefer
3 smallish zucchini halved and sliced
2 large carrots sliced
1 cup white corn
1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil


1. Place chicken breasts in soup pot or big dutch oven, add 4 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook 20 minutes or so until done through.

2. Remove chicken and set aside to cool slightly. Reserve broth in another container.

3. Add canola oil, onions, celery and garlic to the soup pot and cook over medium heat until translucent and tender.

4. Cut chicken into half-inch cubes and return to soup pot along with reserved broth. Add the remaining 10 ingredients.

5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for half an hour or so until carrots are tender and flavors are blended.

6. This can be served with sour cream, tortilla chips and shredded cheese --- if you like. The soup also freezes well.

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